April 2006
New Stuff
1/4 Scale Engine

Richard Mike Johnson's Pegasus

In his forthcoming book on the Revell-Pactra and Revell-Testor contests (To Design, Build and Win! The history and myths of the Revell-Pactra and Revell-Testor contests), Mark S. Gustavson claims that there were a number of leading models built by a handful of exceptional builders that literally redefined the model car landscape in the early Nineteen Sixties at the first Revell-Pactra contest (presented in hobby shops starting on April 1, 1963 and concluding on May 31, 1963.  Mark suggests that these models were sophisticated enough in design, detail and craftsmanship that they became standards of model car building for many of us who began building in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Those early models included the work of Augie Hiscano, Dave Shuklis, Jim Ray Yonts, Carl Dunn, Jerry Svitek, and, notably, Richard Mike Johnson, who won the top award in the first Revell-Pactra contest. Builders became aware of these models through features and articles in Car Model magazine and in Model Champions, – a special one-off magazine published to show off the regional and national winners in this contest – and in newspaper articles.

The model Mike built was certainly equal to any other great modeling from that era, and surpassed most. Based on an AMT 1962 Thunderbird, Mike completely revamped the model, added an innovative selection of parts, placed a driver and mechanic in the cockpit, and created one of the most memorable and thoughtful models ever built. The levels of sophistication and pioneering construction in this model have amazed Museum visitors when they see it in our Revell-Pactra/Testor contest display cabinet. Used in Revell-Pactra I, and Revell-Testor I and Revell-Testor II contests, the model had to be rebuilt after being damaged on its way back to Richard from Revell, where it was used to sculpt the master for the bronze trophy castings.

As one of the top winners in this contest, Mike traveled to Disneyland with his wife, appeared on a local TV show, toured local speed shops, and [of course] visited Disneyland. We have a wonderful array of these pictures that we'll show you in the next issue of this newsletter.

The Pegasus appeared in the following magazines:

    Model Champions (1963)
    Car Model, November, 1963
    Car Model, October 1964
    Car Model Custom Annual
    Model Car Science, November 1963
    Model Car Science, August 1964
    Model Car and Track, Winter 1963
    Rod & Custom, January 1964.

In late 2008, Mike contacted Mark Gustavson and asked if the Museum would be interested in a donation of the Pegasus. Needless to say, we responded with an enthusiastic "yes!", and arrangements were made to pick up the donation from a friend of Mike's during his visit to Sandy, Utah. Mark dutifully retrieved two large boxes of items, and unpacked this most remarkable of models and related memorabilia.

In the next issue of The Builder, we'll present a sampling of an incredible array of historic items that reveal the inner workings of Revell and its contests, OLR Publishing (Koveleski and Car Model magazine), and other items. Genuinely, Mike's donation to the Museum is one of the most significant ever, and is a highlight of our historical collection. We're deeply grateful for Mike's generosity, and are proud to feature his historical model in the Museum collection.


Mike gave the Museum an amazing array of newspaper clippings, photographs, memorandum in addition to the spectacular model. This home-town magazine clipping celebrates his win of the top Senior award in Revell-Pactra I.


This scan from Car Model magazine shows three-different angles of this great model, before shipping damage required its restoration.


Another of the most-rare and interesting items donated is Mike's 1962-era profile drawing of the model made as part of the model-planning prcoess!


This list of model features appeared in Model Champions – a special one-off publication that Car Model magazine published to celebrate the regional and national winners in Revell-Pactra I contest. 


This and the next three photos are contemporary pictures taken at the Museum. The model is in remarkable condition. 


The Pegasus' design is timeless. Note the different tires used in the restoration.


In an era when not every model featured a detailed undercarriage, the Pegasus did.


The rear of the car was as stunning as the front clip. The center-mounted exhaust are angled upward, ala Jag XKE.


The engine and adjacent compartment was also exhaustively detailed. It's no wonder this model took the top nod at Revell-Pactra I.



This August 22, 1963 letter from Car Model advised Mike that the magazine had photographed the model. Check out the names below the signature line.


The Pegasus sits on a special Johnson-supplied three-angle display case, in our Revell-Pactra/Revell-Testor display cabinet.


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